Saturday, December 11, 2010

Joby Gorillapod SLR - review

I held off long enough on getting a gorillapod - till today! I'm writing this review just a few hours after purchasing it, something which I don't usually do, but it's a product that's straightforward and easy enough to recommend.

Gorillapod SLR supporting a 500D & 17-85 lens
I regretted not getting this earlier.  It simply is one of the most useful and ingenious mini camera supports I know.

And if you don't already know, a Gorillapod is mini tripod with bendy legs, allowing one to 'wrap' the tripod around natural objects or fixtures such as fences, railings or poles for those casual snapshots.

On paper, Joby claims a max weight of 800g.  As seen in the picture, this 500D + EF-S 17-85 combi tips the scales at slightly more than 900g, but with proper balancing of the tripod legs, it will still support it very steadily.

The tripod itself weights an insignificant 165g, and it uses a universal quarter-inch tripod screw.  The joints are all flexible, with the grey parts being rubberised for added grip.  The mounting plate slots in nicely to the tripod, and provides a simple bubble level. 

Tripod mount
What's missing though is a ball-head system.  I think there's another model with a ball-head, but it's too gigantic for my taste.  Basically to lock the plate in, you simply slide it into the groove till it clicks.  To remove, simply depress the button below and slide the camera out - idiot-proof!

Now this tripod isn't meant to replace a traditional tripod, and neither is it meant to be a professional camera support.  I see this more as a secondary form of camera support, either for a small SLRs or compact camera, to be brought out when I go for casual street shooting, or to be used when taking group shots with friends over dinner where I could at least control the composition instead of handing it over to the waiter who returns more often than not with blurred shots. 

This is not a serious tripod.  I wouldn't recommend it for critical landscape work for example.  The Gorillapod is meant for fun - for those days when I wouldn't lug my big Manfrotto 190xprob around town, this is the perfect replacement. 

Lock ring - to lock the tripod plate in for added security
Gorillapod supporting 430ex with Trigmaster

But wait! There's more! Besides supporting cameras and videocams, I think this is the perfect support for flashes as well.

Seen on the left, the Gorillapod will support flash units such as my Canon 430exii - perfect when using off-camera flash.  Instead of holding the flash with my hands or getting an assistant to do that, I can wrap the Gorillapod around nearby objects.  This makes for very versatile lighting setups.

To sum it up, there's very little to complain about the Gorillapod SLR, and there's every reason why any photographer would benefit from one of these accessories.  It's a no-brainer, if you're scouting for a tripod which will fit into the bag, THIS IS IT.

The Joby Gorillapod SLR - 5 stars.  Very pleased!

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